Monday, February 21, 2011


Oh February, are you still here? What a week. I have a little boy who still has an ear infection that just won't go away (I know, it never ends! Poor guy). So I've been doing lots of snuggling, caretaking, and being quiet at home with my guys. In between elderberry lemonade, warm packs and mountains of library books, my seeds have arrived. I love posting my big list of what we are growing each year to the blog so I can go back (10, 09)and compare years and have a record of it, and also so I can hear what works for you, what new things you are trying, and get that whole garden energy spring is coming juju rolling!

**seeds 2011**

Some of these seeds are left in my 'stock' from previous years, some are new to the garden this year. The list is what we are growing for 2011, with all new seeds/varieties for '11 marked as **.

Before you think I sound crazy with this big list as I write often about how small our yard is, I don't plant a ton of anything. Most of these plants we plant only a FEW, spread out throughout the shaped beds. We also plant in quick growing things near the slow growers, so that we get multiple harvests from the same space. I also use a lot of containers on deck & porch and grow almost all culinary herbs in pots. I also grow UP as much as possible! This is all very do-able in a small space. Some items are specifically to repel pests, and some are to attract beneficials as companion plants. Some things are literally strewn as I go, wherever I find an empty spot or have just picked an opening - like greens and radishes. It all works together in the end, and it looks nice too!

bush beans: bush blue lake
pole beans: purple podded pole, blue lake
drying beans: good mother stallard
**Dragon Tongue
**Envy Edamame

beets: (for garden planting as well as microgreens)
detroit dark red
jewel toned (red, gold, candy stripe)
**albino beet

ruby perfection

**Chantenay Red Core
**Tonda di Parigi

crystal apple
**Parisian Pickling

fruit (from seed):
ground cherry

azur star

minnesota midget
Pride of Wisconsin
**Sweet Siberian Melon

onions (to eat & as repellent):
evergreen long white bunching
yellow of parma (late)
yellow borettana chipollini (early)
**red baron bunching
**Red Welsh

peas: (for garden planting as well as microgreens)
oregon sugar pod II
de grace snow & snap
tom thumb dwarf
**Blue Podded Blauwschokkers

beaver dam (hot)
healthy pepper (sweet)
**albino bullnose pepper

potatoes: to come (grow bags)

long scarlet
purple plum
red meat
Cincinnati market

greens: (for garden planting as well as microgreens)
giant japanese red mustard
bloomsdale long standing spinach
swiss chard - lucullus
swiss chard - bright lights
swiss chard - flamingo pink
lacinato italian kale
wrinkled crinkled cress
garden cress
siamese dragon stir fry mix
pepper cress
**Ornamental Fringed Mix Kale
**belle isle cress

lettuce: (for garden planting as well as microgreens)
red wing lettuce mix
rocky top lettuce mix
heritage lettuce mix
green oak leaf
farmers market lettuce blend

summer squash:
lemon squash
summer scallop trio (patty pan)

lime green salad
window box roma
tommy toe
**Red House Freestanding
**Isis Candy Cherry

winter squash:
early butternut
fordhook acorn
(winter squash didn't do so hot last 2 years in our tiny space, planting only a few this year)

general veg:
white egg turnip
purple of sicily cauliflower
early purple sprouting broccoli
**tendercrisp celery

culinary & 'other' herbs:
common thyme
florence fennel
giant italian parsley
sweet marjoram
lettuce leaf basil
red reuben basil
genovese basil
**lime basil
kerala red amaranth
tooth ache plant
greek mullein
**Anise Hyssop
**German Chamomile
**Dill Bouquet

**frosted salmon poppies
mammoth sunflower
**italian white sunflower
**butterfly weed
**resina calendula

in ground::
golden raspberries
red raspberries
white currants
lemon balm
mix prairie flowers for rain garden
chocolate mint

Also New This Year::
fruit/veg (on list this year to plant, bare root or young tree )
**2 columnar apple (golden sentinel, northpole)
**1 dwarf cherry tree (blackgold)
**1 dwarf peach tree (reliance)
**1 cultivated elderberry
**pink thornless gooseberry
**sweet purple asparagus (might do this next year)
and, thinking of grapes or hardy kiwi for arbor

So my big change is more medicinal herbs and fruit bushes/trees...things that stay year to year and don't require as much day to day care. All of the trees will be dwarf or columnar so they will fit in our small space and not cast too much shade. I'll be doing more things in pots again - to get more sun and heat on my peppers, tomatoes, culinary herbs, etc. And we will be designing a few more ways to grow things UP so I don't have to bend over, and so they don't take as much room. More on all that later, as we plot and plan. We hopefully will have some big changes in the shape and bed spaces, the deck, and other infrastructure details too. Can't wait!

What are you trying this year that is new (for you)? What are you most excited about planting?


Sunday, February 13, 2011

garden dreams.

We have had a rough week full of asthma attacks, ear infections/rupture, urgent care and a little guy who still feels just terrible. Those rare quiet moments I have had with a sick boy trying to sleep on my lap and a bigger boy tucked under an arm reading a book, I have been sneaking peeks at my garden notebook and flipping through all of the garden inspiration I have checked out from the library. I'm a little behind, I feel, although I greedily look forward to some time in the upcoming weeks to catch up on it all after all this, this.

I have been re-working the garden plan a bit. My back can't handle as much labor intensive work, and so I'm adding more things that can just be. More fruiting bushes, columnar fruit trees, more culinary and medicinal herbs, more cutting flowers, and some fun 'room like' nooks for the boys.

Of course I know I'll still plant a ridiculous amount of veggies, but I'm doing more in pots again, and will be trying to train/tie/grow things straight UP so there is better air flow, light and easier access for me without crawling around.

We have been sorting through all of the seeds we still have, going through my notes of what worked and didn't work in our small space last year, and finalizing the seed starting schedules for everything (must start soon! eek!) to come.

On the one hand I'm excited to look forward to another garden season and these great changes, but I'm also a bit wiped out after the past few weeks of sick boys and gardening seems like a lot of work to this tired mom - I will admit thoughts of just planting all marigolds have crossed my mind. ;) I know that will fade as my asthma boy gets his health back and we'll be ready to roll on this seasons garden...and I'll be excitedly looking forward to it all again!

I'm hoping to share my list of what we are growing again this year. It is nice to always have it to see and compare and hear what everyone else is, soon!

As I sketch and finalize and think about the garden, I love going through the photos from previous summers. They are inspiring and full of heat and light, and they remind me of what I liked and wanted to tweak. Of course in February they are also eye candy, and a sure sign that spring will indeed arrive.


Wednesday, February 09, 2011

one moment.

A lifetime is not what is between
the moments of birth and death.
A lifetime is one moment
Between my two little breaths.
The present, the here, the now,
That's all the life I get.
I live each moment in full,
In kindness, in peace, without regret.

~Chade Meng

+ ~ + ~ + ~ + ~ + ~ + ~ + ~ + ~ + ~ + ~ + ~ + ~

Thank you so much for all of the kind words and thoughts. A beautiful thing about blogging is being able to reach out and have so much support return. You are all wonderful! G has had a rough few days, but seems to be past the very worst of it. I hope all that is left is just that he has to muddle through this nasty cold.


Monday, February 07, 2011

just breathe.

I'm sure many of you are like me - having kids activated the mama bear and we want to protect them. In fact, we probably would indeed jump in front of a moving train to save them. But sometimes the most instinctive and seemingly simple things can become a big deal. And there isn't a thing we can do.

Just Breathe. We breathe. Never much thought to it, perhaps. But my boy doesn't always have such an easy time. He has (sometimes severe) attacks in response to any and every cold/flu virus. Over the years we have tools (nebulizer, flovent, inhaler, humidifier, etc.), experience and family 'protocols' to help us manage better. But it isn't always enough.

It is scary to hold a child struggling and fighting desperately to get a SINGLE BREATH and there is nothing you can do to just make it better NOW...just breathe.

We've had a virus in this house for what now seems like forever, slowly going from one to the next. We have been working on keeping G healthy so it would hopefully not hit too hard. But in the middle of the night it arrived. After a very scary attack at home where nothing we did helped, G ended up taking an ambulance ride with me at his side to the UW Children's Hospital, with a short stay in the ER (we are home now). After several different treatments along the way - from home to ambulance to emergency room - he finally was able to just breathe.

It was a long night, and I know this isn't over. We have a few days before he is out of the woods. But this mama bear is thankful for the people who worked to help her little boy just breathe. I am deeply grateful.

Oh, and February? I'm so done with you - please go.


Wednesday, February 02, 2011

blizzard, the morning after.

We woke today with snow blocking our windows and doors, a world of white, with no sidewalks or road to be found. Throughout the morning everyone has slowly started to dig out. The wheel loaders/plows have come through our road out front a few times and the snow is now piled well above my head along the sides.

The boys went out immediately, and found themselves stuck. Deep to hip or waist, sinking, unable to walk or move. G is light, so he quickly discovered he could crawl along the top without sinking.

A is bigger so he sinks on his knees still, but can lie flat and scoot along on his belly. They made it to the one part of cleared sidewalk down the block, stranded, wondering how to get back. ;) They love it!!!!!!

My husband is shoveling in spurts...the drifts are waist high or more in some places, and even with a lot of shoveling, he has made it only about 12 feet from our front door to the main sidewalk! I'm not even going to think about the driveway (the plows haven't come through our alley yet anyway, so...).

But we don't have anywhere to be today (and our city is basically shut down), so no worries. I am warm inside making mulled cider on the stove, warming up the soup and bread I made yesterday, and enjoying games with my boys.

I'm sure my guys will be outside another 25 times today. They will be able to get around a little better as people clear their sidewalks. Those sheer shovel walls are a great base to dig forts from too - and I know we will be out helping them tunnel and carve some caves!

And in case you couldn't tell in the photos how high the drifts near our front door are, G wanted to stand in front of one to give some perspective - almost up to his head. We have some shoveling to do!

Happy Wednesday!


Tuesday, February 01, 2011


We get snowstorms often here in Wisconsin, but tonight we are in the midst of a RAGING blizzard. House is creaking, wind is roaring loudly, snow is drifting into massive piles, covering vents and windows and doors and roads. We can't see across the street (or even see the street - the drifts are HUGE!). I feel like I need to send my husband out with a rope when he clears the massive drifts off of our heater/water/dryer vents every few hours - a rope so he can find the front door again! They say the strongest part is still to come after midnight, so I'll stand at the window with my herbal tea and mouth hanging open for a bit longer before tucking in with my boys, I'm sure.

I can't wait to see what the the light of morning brings as we start to (or should I say attempt to) dig ourselves out. We are definitely not going anywhere for awhile.

I hope all of you in this storm too are safe, warm, and cozy, enjoying it from the comfort of your home.

"Announced by all the trumpets of the sky,

Arrives the snow, and, driving o'er the fields,

Seems nowhere to alight: the withered air

Hides hills and woods, the river, and the heaven,

And veils the farm-house at the garden's end.

The sled and traveler stopped, the courier's feet

Delayed, all friends shut out, and housemates sit

Around the radiant fireplace, enclosed

In a tumultuous privacy of storm."

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson